Submitted by Jimmy Bligh, Public Safety Officer
Two months ago, CPNO formed a traffic/transportation committee in response to concerns expressed by the neighborhood in regards to safety and traffic congestion at the Oakdale-McLendon intersection. As the committee began to engage with city officials, surrounding intown neighborhood leaders, and the neighborhood to discuss this intersection and traffic/transportation challenges in general throughout the neighborhood, we learned that there are similar concerns with public safety, congestion, and parking throughout the entire neighborhood, not just at one intersection.
Our committee was initially asked to recommend a best way forward for the neighborhood to address the Oakdale-McLendon intersection, so we began to look for solutions. Our first thought was we needed to bring in outside expertise to examine just the traffic along Oakdale and McLendon and make some recommendations that we could then go to the city with as a blueprint of what the neighborhood would like to implement to address the traffic/public safety challenges at the intersection. After talking with city officials and other neighborhoods who have dealt with similar traffic challenges, we soon learned that by focusing on just Oakdale-McLendon and not taking a more all encompassing approach towards traffic planning throughout the neighborhood, any changes made could bring unintentional traffic/transportation/public safety issues on surrounding streets. Also, we would be failing to address other hot spots which neighbors have brought to our attention over the past two months via email and at our two traffic forums held during August.
In response to these discussions, our committee pivoted to looking at what other intown neighborhoods have done to take a more all encompassing approach towards traffic planning in their neighborhoods. As we talked with Councilman Alex Wan, Commissioner of Public Works - Richard Mendoza, other intown neighborhood leadership, and local urban planning firms, we learned that the majority of intown neighborhoods have addressed their traffic planning under the confines of a Master Plan for the neighborhood. Since transportation, land use, and economics are all intertwined, we learned to really effectively plan and create a vision for the neighborhood for transportation in the neighborhood, we feel it is in the best interest of the neighborhood to look at all of the influencing factors together through Master Planning. During one of our public traffic forums, we invited Alex Wan and Aaron Fortner http://www.marketandmain.net/aaron.html to discuss what Master Planning involved, why it would benefit the Candler Park neighborhood for so much more than helping solve our transportation issues, and why we are currently a prime candidate to go through this type of planning process.
In case you were not able to join us for these meetings and want to learn more about the importance of neighborhoods having Master Planning performed, I filmed the entire discussion with Alex and Aaron and have posted the video at the links provided. I encourage you all to do take the time to watch the video and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about what was said. Alex and Aaron go into a lot of detail about what master planning is and why Candler Park would really benefit from having this done.
Alex Wan segments
Alex Wan & Aaron Fortner segments
Over the next couple months, our committee will be examining even further what Master Planning for the neighborhood would involve and continuing to inform the neighborhood as we decide together if this is something the neighborhood would like to partake in. This type of planning would be a significant investment in the future of our neighborhood, and by being one of the few neighborhoods who do not have this type of plan already in place (as you'll hear Councilman Wan say in the video of the traffic forum), Candler Park is at a huge disadvantage in terms of getting public funding for projects within Candler Park when it does come available.
I do want to also make clear the Master Plan we are proposing as a solution to our transportation issues would not involve any planning within the park itself. We would only keep in mind during the planning that the park will continue to be maintained as a green space asset for the neighborhood. As we found through the Park Pride Visioning process for the park, the future of the golf course is too contentious of an issue for the neighborhood to partake in a park visioning process at this point in time. Having said that, I feel the neighborhood is ripe and long overdue to participate in a Master Vision/Plan for the other aspects that effect the quality of life in our neighborhood.
Our committee looks forward to continuing to engage with the neighborhood as we learn more about Master Planning and decide as a neighborhood if this is something we would like to partake in as we look for the best way to partner with the city to address our transportation concerns throughout the neighborhood and continue to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more specifics about Master Planning and how you can get involved with our committee and the process!